13.36 In Stock
For their seventh album, upstate New York's roots reggae ambassadors continue the project that has occupied them since their debut in 2000: the revival of '70s-style, dubwise reggae music. Although the band's exact membership is an increasingly irritating mystery (why are we not allowed to know who the singer is on the title track?), it's an open secret that its musical core consists of current and former members of John Brown's Body -- a great reggae band in its own right, but one that has gone off in new stylistic directions in recent years. The very concept of "new stylistic directions" is foreign to 10 Ft. Ganja Plant's modus operandi. Like its predecessors, Shake Up the Place features new compositions written in a very old style, and this time it actually brings on board a couple of voices from back in the day: roots singer Sylford Walker and veteran deejay and producer Prince Jazzbo. Walker contributes vocals on the opening track, "My Roots," which is built on a great groove but offers little of lyrical interest; in fact, it sounds as if Walker may be inventing the lyrics on the spot, and extemporaneous lyrics are not his strong suit. But that relatively weak opening is quickly redeemed by the brilliant "Strength," which sets a delicate but rich horn chart atop a massive, one-drop rhythmic structure. Similarly impressive are the triumphant steppers anthem "Pharaoh's Army" and the Prince Jazzbo vehicle "Africa." And Walker himself rallies nicely on his second outing, the powerful "Hardtimes." Shake Up the Place isn't the best 10 Ft. Ganja Plant album ever, but anyone who has enjoyed the band's previous outings is sure to enjoy this one as well.